Wednesday demonstration held in Busan to protest Japan’s attempts to remove comfort woman statue in Berlin

Posted on : 2020-10-29 17:41 KST Modified on : 2020-10-29 17:41 KST
Berlin has suspended statue’s removal for time being
On Oct. 28, Korean activists hold a demonstration in front of the comfort woman statue in Busan to protest Japan’s efforts to have a comfort woman statue in Berlin removed. (Kim Yeong-dong)
On Oct. 28, Korean activists hold a demonstration in front of the comfort woman statue in Busan to protest Japan’s efforts to have a comfort woman statue in Berlin removed. (Kim Yeong-dong)

A 58th “Wednesday demonstration” event was held in Busan to denounce the Japanese government’s efforts to press for the removal of a statue in Berlin commemorating victims of wartime sexual slavery.

The group Busan Women’s Action to Resolve the Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Issue held a Wednesday demonstration on Oct. 28 by a comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Consulate in the city’s Choryang neighborhood to commemorate victims of sexual slavery. In its demonstration, the group demanded that Japan “halt its attempts to have the peace statue in Berlin removed.”

“Last month, the Japanese government’s foreign minister and chief cabinet secretary held a press conference at the statue -- which was erected on public land at Berlin’s Central Station -- to demand its removal. This is not the first time,” the group said.

“A Japanese far-right group went so far as to file suit with the Los Angeles federal district court in 2013 to have a statue removed in Glendale, California, but lost its case. There have also been obstruction activities surrounding statues in Detroit, San Francisco, Sydney, and Manila,” it noted.

The group went on to say, “As can be seen from this behavior, the Japanese government refuses to acknowledge its war crimes committed during World War II.”

“It does not hesitate to deny history in order to expunge its war crimes. It is distorting the facts, while claiming that the Japanese military sexual slavery issue has ‘been resolved,’” it continued.

“This is a matter of war crimes that violate human rights. As the country responsible, the Japanese government must provide legal compensation,” it said.

“We must work together to address the Japanese government’s distortions of the history of the Japanese military comfort women and the pro-Japanese forces who have taken their side.”

Cho Young-eun, executive committee chair for the Busan branch of the Women’s and Mothers’ Progressive Party, said, “Japan is becoming overt with its attempts to remove statues that have been raised overseas.”

“The statues are symbols of peace and human rights and expressions of the global conscience and an unwillingness to accept the tragedy of wartimes. That’s why we’re working to preserve the statues,” she added.

In July, Berlin’s Mitte borough permitted the erection of the statue along a city street to commemorate victims of sexual slavery. After an unveiling ceremony on Sept. 28, the Japanese government requested the statue’s removal, and Mitte issued an order on Oct. 7 for the statue to be removed. The issue concerned an inscription stating that the Japanese military forcibly drafted women from throughout the Asia-Pacific region as sexual slaves during WWII. The group responsible for the statue’s erection filed a request with a Berlin administrative court to have the removal order suspended, and the statue’s removal has been postponed for the time being.

By Kim Yeong-dong, Busan correspondent

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